In an exclusive sit-down interview with Ariel Helwani, Josh Taylor, the undisputed junior welterweight world champion, shared his feelings on his fight in New York tonight, his career, and personal life. This comes amid the furore that has been stirred up in the boxing world due to Taylor’s recent controversies against Teofimo Lopez.
“There are many different storylines going into this fight,” said Taylor, expressing the complexity and intrigue surrounding the event. The Scottish fighter showed no signs of concern about the quality of air in New York, given his strict indoor training regimen. The magnitude of this fight is not lost on him, as he described it as a “dream come true” to fight in the iconic Madison Square Garden.
“This feels like a big fight,” Taylor said, his excitement palpable. “I’ve always dreamed of coming to New York and fighting Madison Square Garden since I was a young guy… this is my second time headlining in America, and this one is in Madison Square Garden.”
Despite the recent loss of his uncle, who had always envisioned Taylor fighting at Madison Square Garden, the champion seemed poised and ready to honor his legacy.
On Teofimo Lopez
When asked about his opinion of Lopez, Taylor was unflinching in his assessment. “I think he’s just a bit of a clown and doesn’t know where he is, a bit of a lost soul,” he stated.
“Stuff that he was saying… got under my skin,” admitted Taylor, “I’ll be looking to go in there on Saturday and inflict some serious damage and some pain on him.” Taylor’s words resonate with a steely determination, as he prepares to defend his title against an opponent known for his flamboyant pre-fight talk.
Despite the harsh words, Taylor made it clear that he never gets emotionally attached to his fights. His only goal? To give Lopez a bigger beating on Saturday.
Reflecting on Controversial Victories
When asked about his close fight against Jack Catterall, Taylor admitted to feeling some pressure from online trolls. The negative sentiment escalated to threats against his family, leading Taylor to fight fire with fire.
“I’m not the kind of guy that’s going to sit back and take it and keep my mouth shut, especially when there’s people threatening my family,” Taylor firmly asserted.
On rewatching the Catterall fight, Taylor said, “I thought Jack was doing excessive holding… I thought I had that just enough to win.”
As for why his next fight isn’t a rematch against Catterall, Taylor cited injury and promoter scheduling issues as key factors. He also expressed disinterest in Catterall’s recent performances, choosing instead to focus on his own upcoming fight.
The Fight as a Tribute
For Taylor, this fight holds personal significance beyond the title defense. He will be honoring the late great Ken Buchanan, a fellow Scottish boxing legend who also fought at Madison Square Garden. Taylor revealed he would be wearing shorts in tribute to Buchanan, signifying the deep respect he has for his predecessor.
“I got to know [Ken] when I was a young lad… he was always giving me bits of advice on how to train and live the life, and train properly,” Taylor reminisced. “He’s just a genuine legend of a man… one of the UK’s greatest ever to do it.”
Finally, Taylor was asked why the fight wasn’t happening closer to home. His response was simple: the allure of Madison Square Garden was too great to pass up.
“I got the opportunity to fight in Madison Square Garden and I grabbed it with both hands,” Taylor said, highlighting his eagerness to seize the moment on such an iconic stage.
His gaze fixed firmly on the future, Taylor ended the interview by expressing his plans of moving up to 147 and getting another big fight. But for now, his focus is solely on making a